No matter how perfectly you think you plan your wedding, there are undoubtedly going to be at least a couple of things that go completely haywire. It’s inevitable that something’s going to surprise you, drive you nuts or cause a problem during your ceremony or reception. Try to avoid these fifteen common pitfalls that far too many couples have been the victims of.
1. Jumping the gun with save-the-date cards
Finalize your guest list before you send save-the-dates and ship them out six months in advance. Sending your save-the-dates earlier is a recipe for disaster – what if close friendships dwindle into mere aquaintance-ships within the year or so that it takes to plan the wedding? Remember, you don’t absolutely have to send save-the-dates, either. However, if you’re getting married over a holiday weekend, during a busy travel time of the year (like summer vacation) or at a far away location, it’s a nice gesture to send save-the-dates eight months in advance so people have time to plan.
2. Overly discussing your wedding plans
Remember: Everybody has an opinion. Mostly not very helpful ones! Talking too much about your wedding, even if it’s with your mother, Maid of Honor and bridesmaids, gives people the opportunity to tell you how you should iron out every last detail. Save yourself the headache and pressure of listening to everyone’s two cents by keeping wedding chatter to a minimum. Plus, if too many people know the specifics of your big day, you won’t be able to surprise your guests with your totally unique reception!
3. Being last in the hair and makeup chair
At first, it may seem like the bride should have her hair and makeup done last on her wedding day. That way, your style is the most fresh when you head off to the ceremony, right? Wrong! If morning-of beautifying takes longer than expected and you’re last in your stylist’s seat, guess who’s going to have a rushed ‘do and makeup. Instead, ask your salon to schedule you smack in the middle of your bridesmaids. That way, if the clock starts ticking, one of the other girls can have a simpler style.
4. Hiring a friend instead of a professional vendor
At first, it sounds like a great idea to ask your childhood friend to DJ, cater or photograph your wedding. You can save some money and you know you’ll be comfortable with the person. Unfortunately, if you hire an amateur to do the job, they’re going to do, well, an amateurish job. The only exception is if you happen to have a friend who also runs a successful floral shop, videography business or wedding band. Even then, though, your bud is stuck working on a day that he should be enjoying right along with you. Ultimately, it’s best to not mix your pleasurable day with business.
5. Distrusting your vendors
When you meet with your vendors, you should absolutely have the time and freedom to relay your vision, express your preferences, state your dislikes and clarify your expectations. Once you’ve decided to hire a vendor because you have faith that your personalities will mesh well and that they’ll successfully bring your dreams to life, it’s time to let go of the reigns. You’ve hired a seasoned professional who knows exactly what they’re doing.
6. Being pressured into having a full open bar
The style of your wedding will heavily dictate what type of bar you have set up at your reception. Not every couple feels that a full bar is worth it and sometimes it’s not even possible to have a full bar depending on your venue. Whether you offer anything and everything your guests could possibly want, a limited selection of cocktails, beer and wine only or even no alcoholic drinks whatsoever, your guests should be gracious and accepting. Whatever you choose to go with, though, just don’t have a cash bar – it doesn’t relay the sophisticated wedding vibe you’re going for.
7. Leaving your flats at home
Every bride wants to feel like a princess on their wedding day and princesses are so rarely seen in flip flops. Keep this in mind, though: the best case scenario is that you’re going to be in your heels for only six hours; odds are that you’ll be wearing your beautiful wedding shoes for eight or more hours. That’s a lot of time in a pair of shoes that you probably haven’t even broken in very well yet. Keep a pair of chic flats nearby so that you can actually enjoy your reception after a couple of hours pass – if you have a floor-length dress, nobody’s even going to notice.
8. Micromanaging your DJ
This tip may sound similar to tip #5, but for some reason, DJs seem to be the vendors that deal the most with nitpicking clients. Maybe it’s because everyone knows what songs they like even if they’re unsure of proper positioning for group photos, which flowers will wilt after an hour in the sun or how to pair wine with an entree. Whatever the reason, any DJ will tell you that one of their main gripes is never-ending “Play” and “Don’t Play” song lists from couples-to-be. Trying to control every song on the playlist is (A) not possible and (B) not very smart. Why? Because a professional DJ will know that certain points during the wedding call for a certain meter of music (slow and quiet during dinner, for example). When you meet with your DJ, discuss your favorite styles of music, the songs you want played during important moments (first entrance, cutting the cake) and then give him a short list of songs you’d like to hear and songs you’d prefer to not hear.
9. Assuming the groom’s and groomsmen’s tuxes are going to fit
You wouldn’t dream of buying your dress off-the-rack without even a fitting, so why would you want the main men in the wedding to show up in ill-fitting tuxes? Make sure that they try on what they’re wearing at least a few days before the wedding day. Otherwise, your guys are going to have sleeves that are too short or pant legs that are too baggy.
10. Partying the night before you get married
The closer to your wedding day, the more fun and exciting it is to throw your bachelor or bachelorette party. Having it the night before you walk down the aisle is a huge mistake, though. First of all, there are probably a lot of last minute details to smooth out 24 hours before the wedding. Secondly, the bride, groom and wedding party run the risk of being late to the ceremony, sleep deprived, exhausted and hungover…at best.
11. Pretending that weather will be perfect on your wedding day
If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding on the beach, don’t fool yourself into thinking that the weather’s going to hold out just because you’re getting married. You don’t have to insist on an indoor wedding if that’s not really your vision, but make sure that the venue can quickly and easily move everything indoors in the event of a storm. Also, if there does have to be a last minute change, your vendors will need to be notified. Ask one of your bridesmaids to keep every vendor’s name and contact information on hand in case they have to be called in the eleventh hour.
12. Dieting after your final fitting
Some brides know that, even if their dress fits perfectly two weeks before the wedding, they’ll look even better if they can drop five pounds. Chances are that such a tiny weight loss isn’t going to affect how your gown fits. However, some brides go overboard with dieting and working out in the few days or weeks before the wedding. Between being paranoid about how you’re going to look in front of 300 of your closest friends and being stressed because wedding planning is difficult, it’s easy to drop more weight than you want to. Make sure to maintain your weight after your final fitting, or else you’ll have a dress that looks too big and won’t stay put.
13. Not taking photos of your hair and makeup during the trial
Maybe you’ve never worn glittery gold eyeshadow before, but you sure love how you look in the mirror after your makeup artist works her magic. Even if you think you like how you look at first, you won’t really know how happy you are with your style until you see yourself in photos. During your hair and makeup trial, ask a friend to take a few pictures of you from different angles. Otherwise, you’ll find out too late that you hate every single photo of your wedding.
14. Skipping cocktail hour
Most brides and grooms aren’t able to make an appearance during cocktail hour because they’re busy having photos taken. If possible, try to attend at least part of your cocktail hour, even if you have to extend it by thirty minutes. You can also cut down photo taking time by having some taken before the ceremony, either singularly or together as a couple. The reception’s going to fly by and you may not have a chance to talk to everyone you want to. By participating in your cocktail hour, you can have more time to mix and mingle.
15. Jet setting the day after the wedding
At first, it sounds romantic to have your bags packed and get whisked away to an exotic location for a two week honeymoon. In reality, though, the day after your wedding is going to feel more stressful than relaxing if you try to hop on a flight. There are things to take care of immediately following a wedding and you could end up leaving for your honeymoon feeling completely scattered and unorganized. Instead, take two or three days at home before leaving for vacation.